PNW Faculty Senate Minutes, December 13, 2019
Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate
December 13, 2019
10:00 a.m., Portage Meeting Facility Room 113
Voting members present:
L. Pelter, M. Pelter, A. Sindone, O. Farook, S. Rezak, M. Mick, G. Schultz, M. Curia, G. Domke, A. Elmendorf, A. Alavizadeh, M. Connolly, P. Stompor, R. Calix, D. Wilbur, A. Mitra, J. Dorman, K. Scipes, R. Merkovsky, R. Vega, W. He, C. Gillotti, R. Cherry, K. Kincaid, F. Vauleon, L. Taylor, C. Chen, D. Kozel, X. Yang, K. Scipes, R. Evans, M. Roller, L. Gielda, M. Mascha, W. Yu, C. Morrow, C. DeLeon, X. Wang, D. Nikolovski, J. Rogers, V. Quinn, R. Kramer, M. Errihani
J. Davis, H. Zhao, N. Parashar
Non-Voting members present:
T. Keon, N. Latif, J. Colwell, A. Trekles, J. Schooley, S. Turner, L. Goodnight
R. Rupp, B. Stankowski, N. Nemeth, K. Falzone, J. Williams, C. Murphy, J. Pula, K. Falzone, C. Arroyo, C. Holford, D. Rempfer, T. Winders, M. Lynn, R. Conroy, D. Detmer, R. Abuizam, L. Hopp, J. Duzinkewicz, C. Moredich, S. Lerner, J. Swarts, S. Zinaich, D. Nalbone, P. Hecht, K. Tobin, D. Majumdar, D. Pick, C. Fewer
- Determination of quorum. 10:01am
- Call to order.
- Approval of the agenda.
- Farook motioned, Sindone seconded.
- Vega asked to add faculty professional development committee budget to Discussion items.
- Taylor asked for “COT Minor potential conflicts” noted under Curriculum to be removed from the agenda.
- General Education FSD 19-12 added to agenda.
- The motion carried.
- Approval of the minutes from November 8, 2019.
- Rogers motioned and Schultz seconded. Motion carried.
- Remarks by the Senate Chair (T. Elmendorf).
- Elmendorf noted that Rita Brusca-Vega is retiring at the end of this semester, and he thanked her for her work in the School of Education and her work on the Senate and Faculty Affairs. Her seat will be filled by David Pratt. The chair of Faculty Affairs will be assumed by Neeti Parashar.
- We look forward to seeing everyone at graduation this weekend. Registrar Cheryl Arroyo asked that all faculty attend and arrive on time for the events on Saturday and Sunday.
- In April, there will be an election within the Senate for Vice Chair Elect. Any current Senator may run for this position, which leads to chairing the Senate in Fall 2021. There is no other restriction on the length of the current term a Senator holds, as the current seat will be vacated to join as a new position. The Vice Chair Elect also attends all Senate leadership meetings.
- We are still searching for a chair of General Education and Assessment.
- A General Education committee is being formed within CHESS under the leadership of Dean Carey. While we welcome the work and recommendations of this committee, these recommendations will need to be sent to the General Education standing committee, to be presented to the Senate for adoption.
- The Vice Chancellor for Information Services and Chief of Staff have developed a new Electronic Communications policy. It provides Senate Leadership with supervisory duties over the Faculty email distribution list. It should be noted that these policies were developed without consultation with the faculty or the Senate.
- There are concerns about waiver approval for program requirements, particularly in the case of transfer credit approval. The language in the current Senate document (FSD 1721 https://faculty.pnw.edu/blog/fsd-17-21/) is not clear regarding who can make these approvals, and allows for administrators to make waivers without faculty input. A revised resolution will be drafted for presentation at the next Senate meeting.
- There are headcount reports and instructional assignments now posted on the front page of the Senate website (http://faculty.pnw.edu). These data have been shared with the Deans and Department heads and are now being shared with the faculty.
- There is a summer compensation policy on the university website (https://www.pnw.edu/policies/summer-compensation-for-academic-year-faculty-with-schedule/), but there have been concerns in certain colleges, including Nursing, that the policy is not being followed regarding pay practices. The resolution passed by the Senate asks for consistency in summer assignments, but the resolution did not address pay because the policy is already stated.
- Update on the Search for Provost position: L. Pelter reports that the search is going well and has been progressing quickly. There were 36 applicants and there have been 10 selected for airport interviews. The interviews have already occurred and 4-5 qualified applicants will be coming to campus in January.
- Morrow introduced new Senator Mohammed Errihani, who is taking the seat of Colin Fewer. Errihani is a Fulbright Scholar with a specialization in Linguistics. We welcome his joining the Senate. Cathy Gillotti will also be leaving the Senate in December and will be replaced by Professor Lee Artz in January.
- Memorial presented by Prof. Lerner for Professor Emeritus John Davis
- Lerner provided a memorial for Prof. Emeritus John Davis, who passed this semester. Dr. Davis served Purdue Calumet from 1969 – 1998 as a Professor of Education.
- Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
- Chancellor Keon addressed enrollment concerns and put together a group from the Senior Leadership Team to analyze how schedules were developed and the constraints that there may be in terms of assignment expectations. A full meeting with the deans, associate deans, and department chairs also occurred. A model of enrollment predictions has been developed and refined so that we can predict what enrollment will look like next year, and we will put forward an effort to reduce the FY21 budget prior to July 1, instead of attempting to cut where necessary in the middle of the current year. The group that met with department chairs is available for questions during the Senate meeting. Questions were not asked at this time.
- Scipes asked the Chancellor to address the issues of the last few years of declining enrollments, including budget cuts and rounds of faculty buyouts. He requested a written plan to be submitted to the Senate detailing the Chancellor’s plans for resolving these issues. Scipes felt that we have lost a significant number of people and quality of programs have suffered as a result. Addressing the issues with only cuts is not adequate and there is an increasing lack of confidence in the institution’s future. The Chancellor responded that he has not had time to draft the document requested as he met with Senate Leadership only two days prior. However, he noted that he can have this document available by the next Senate meeting. He also noted that there are efforts made by Admissions and other areas to stabilize and increase incoming freshman class enrollments, and so far the numbers are positive. There is a problem with retention, however, and it is clear that we are losing students who come to us after the first year. There is a committee now working on retention, TruePNW, made up of associate deans, registrar, advisors, and others. New leadership has also been added to the role as a .50 faculty administration role. Some things that faculty can do to help with retention is to provide midterm grades and more advising to at-risk students. Financial aid is another piece that we would like to address along with a strong admissions plan.
- Elmendorf noted that the TruePNW committee activities are no longer published on the website, so it would be helpful if those could be added back to the website along with the plan provided.
- Schultz asked what the current retention numbers are, and Keon noted that the greatest losses are from freshman to sophomore and sophomore to junior, which varies by college. Of the incoming freshmen, 522 did not have a major and those are the greatest at-risk students. We lost up to half of those students because they are not prepared for college or unable to continue for other reasons. Most colleges individually are strong in retention but for those that have higher retention rates for freshman admission, they also have higher standards for admission to begin with. Therefore, those students are often more adequately prepared. Nursing and Honors have the current highest retention rates. Schultz asked if we should be admitting students who are at-risk for completion in the first place. The TruePNW committee will be planning to make a presentation to Senate in regard to entrance requirements and other factors that may assist with retention. Keon anticipated that we may wish to raise admission requirements slightly, although GPA is not the only factor that impacts preparedness.
- Scipes appreciated the answer and welcomes additional conversations around retention. However, he would still like to hear directly from the Senior Leadership regarding plans to go forward and a vision for the future of PNW. With suspensions and cuts of programs, he would like to ask that the Senior Leadership discuss directly how the university can move forward in light of these continued cuts. Having something on paper can allow all faculty to evaluate and discuss further from an informed position. Chancellor Keon responded that there are many factors impacting our future, including economics in the region. For example, healthcare is the higher growth market in the region, and there is a need for increased attention to this through programs and new majors. Engineering and Biology are looking are hiring new expertise to increase opportunities for healthcare-related programming. However, there are limitations on how quickly we can respond to these challenges based on funding, timing, and other factors. Computer Science moving into Engineering as its own department is also a move toward improving access to a growing field for our region students.
- Saul Lerner noted that efforts for facilitating retention are important. He asked about the consequences of admitting all students directly into colleges and placing responsibility for retention with those areas. Chancellor Keon responded that we may lose over 500 students as a result on average. Those students appear to be unprepared to pass initial courses needed in college programs.
- New Business
- Curriculum documents and updates (Curriculum, L. Taylor). Taylor motioned and Schultz seconded. The motion carried.
- New Business: Documents for action.
- FSD 19-08 Clinical Promotion Committees (R. Vega)
- FSD 19-10 Duration of Criteria for Promotion and Tenure(R. Vega)
- FSD 19-11 Rebuttal Option at Promotion and Tenure Campus Committee Level(R. Vega)
- The three documents are being presented for action. The adding of a member of the University Committee is removed from discussion, but the other three documents presented in November are being offered today. Sindone seconded Vega’s motion for the acceptance of these documents. The motion carried.
- New Business: Documents for discussion.
- Proposal for reorganization of Computer Science (EPC, K. Scipes)
- Scipes addressed the Computer Science proposal as noted by Dean Holford in the November meeting. Ed Policy has discussed and made recommendations directly to Dean Holford. The recommendations were accepted by Holford in discussions. Elmendorf noted that no standing committee has recommendation or approval power directly, and that a written proposal should be provided to the Senate floor in January outlining these recommendations.
- Electronic communication policy (EPC, K. Scipes)
- Scipes noted that this issue was not discussed at length in committee in November. The Senate has an advisory role in matters relating to faculty policy and communications and will present recommendations to the Senate in the January meeting. However, it should also be noted that the Electronic Communications Policy has already been announced and implemented by VC Winders.
- Request for written strategies for increasing enrollment (EPC, K. Scipes)
- This issue is discussed above in Chancellor Keon’s remarks.
- Discussion items.
- Report on the current status of assessment in preparation for the HLC visit (GE&A)
- L. Pelter addressed the Senate as acting chair of General Education. One role of Gen Ed and Assessment is to ensure that those courses listed as Gen Ed are clearly made available in the catalog and the Senate website. The committee also has the responsibility to review FYE and Experiential Learning courses, and faculty are encouraged to ensure that assessment is documented for those courses.
- FSD 19-12 General Education Course Equivalencies
- Honors courses have been designated to fulfill requirements for ENGL 10400, COM 11400, and ENGL 10500. The Gen Ed committee accepted this during the curriculum process, but there has been confusion in some departments as to whether these courses are direct equivalents. The courses are not listed in the list of Gen Ed approved courses as they are not open to all students, only to Honors students. The document clarifies these points.
- Pelter requested to move this document to action. Quinn seconded. The motion carried.
- Report on the current status of assessment in preparation for the HLC visit (GE&A)
- Proposal for reorganization of Computer Science (EPC, K. Scipes)
- Cherry motioned and Domke seconded to approve the document.
- Schultz asked for clarification as to whether English and Communication faculty teach the HONR 111, 112, 211 courses. The curriculum documents provide English and Communication oversight for those courses, and Gillotti and Paul Hecht certified that faculty from those departments do staff those courses. The offering departments receive those credit hours.
- After discussion, the motion carried.
- Suspension of programs and FSD 18-20 (approved 3/9/18) (Executive, L. Pelter)
- The referenced document states that the Senate has an important authority role in program suspensions or discontinuance of programs. While the Senate does not have budgetary authority, it is an important part of the curriculum process.
- Schultz asked about the difference between suspension and discontinuance. Elmendorf noted that discontinuation refers to wiping the program off the books completely, while suspension means that enrollment is simply stopped to be restarted at a later time. Suspension does not necessarily come with specific processes for restarting; the faculty makes the decision to both suspend and start any program. Chairs are to consult with faculty before making these decisions.
- Gillotti asked if a program needs to have a certain number of students and/or faculty before it is allowed to rebuild. Provost Latif replied that market demand must be taken into consideration, and there must be a demonstrated potential for both current and future growth. This does not mean that there needs to be a specific number of students, and there is no number identified. A case must simply be made for growth potential.
- Scipes asked the Provost for clarification on the fact that there is no stated policy for restarting a suspended program. A suspended program is a curriculum decision, so if a new curriculum is developed, it must be brought through the Senate process. However, if no new curriculum is developed, it does not necessarily go through a Senate process.
- Roller asked further about the students involved in the current program. The Provost noted that those students currently admitted into a program are taught through the current program. Suspension allows for no new students to be enrolled into a program that will be transformed, thus not delaying the “teach out” process further.
- Lerner indicated that historically, eliminated programs have taken up to 7 years to teach out.
- Kramer asked as to the nature of the faculty input into the suspension or elimination of a program. Provost Latif responded that the Chair has the budgetary information to provide to the faculty regarding these decisions. Chairs should consult with faculty to make a decision together, and then this is reported back to the Provost’s office.
- Gillotti asked about the faculty in a suspended program. The university’s commitment to those faculty relates to the programs in which they teach, although typically faculty can be reassigned within the department to teach service or other coursework that might have previously been taught by adjunct faculty. Adjunct faculty can often be hired to teach small upper-division courses in teach-out status. Tenure is not contingent on suspended programs.
- It should be noted that according to Purdue University policy B-50, Terms and Conditions of Employment of Faculty Members, the following is stated in section VIII: Tenure at Purdue University is a matter of policy and not a legal obligation binding on the University. Tenure policies are subject to change by the Board of Trustees, and all appointments are subject to any such changes. It is the current policy of the University to extend the appointments of faculty members who have attained tenure status, subject always to the availability of funds, the continuance of activities in the area of employment, and the University’s right to terminate the appointment for cause. So long as that policy is in effect, the employment of faculty holding tenure will be automatically continued from year to year without requiring annual execution of Form 19. Tenure is effective only at the particular campus of the University at which it was acquired. Reference is made to Executive Memorandum No. B-48, as now or hereafter revised, for a more comprehensive statement of the tenure policy of the University.
- K. Tobin asked about the elimination of programs and the faculty role in that process. The Chancellor responded that the process would be similar to the process in Fort Wayne recently, where Senate and involved faculty leadership reviewed the data as applicable and the Senate made an action for approval as one of the steps. The further review would be taken to the Commission for Higher Education. Schultz asked if this also applies to the issue of financial exigency as a main decision point. The Chancellor noted that the same processes apply.
- Discussion of issues relating to the Westville campus.
- No discussion at this time.
- Report on the Workload Committee (Nominations, G. Domke)
- The committee has been populated. Domke reported that the faculty are nominated and that work can begin.
- Summer teaching policies and the current status of FSD 18-19 (FAC, R. Vega)
- Vega noted that the resolution was passed that faculty would vote on a shared policy for summer employment in each unit. However, there is still a need for a university-wide policy related to summer employment and asked the Provost for input on this. The Provost responded that a summer teaching policy had been shared with the Senate Leadership two days ago. The Senior Leadership rejected the idea of having faculty choosing a policy to vote on and approve, as the Board of Trustees will not approve a policy that was chosen by faculty to write their own workload assignments. However, the SLT is in favor of having a university-wide base policy for summer employment. The question was asked as to whether the Workload Task Force can make recommendations about this policy, and the Chancellor agreed that it can do so.
- Faculty Feedback to Administrators survey for 2019-2020 (FAC, R. Vega)
- Vega reported that the Senators were provided a survey on preferences for a Faculty Feedback survey in the spring semester. The responses indicated that Senators preferred asking the same 5 questions asked last year, plus a question about changes that may have been observed in administrators over the course of the year. Faculty Affairs will continue working on this issue in the spring.
- Faculty Development subcommittee budget (FAC, R. Vega)
- The Faculty Development subcommittee would like to have an event in the spring as a faculty appreciation event with a speaker and lunch. They approached the Center for Faculty Excellence, which will be able to provide $4000 toward the event, but are short about $1000 for refreshments. Vega asked for this money to be able to be provided through the Senate, but Elmendorf responded that this will not be possible at this time due to limited funding.
- Need to strengthen the wording of FSD 17-21 (GE&A) on waivers of program requirements to clarify the need for the involvement of expert faculty.
- This issue is passed to the General Education standing committee.
- Remarks by the Student Government representative (J. Schooley, SGA President)
- Schooley provided some updates on Student Government. Vice President Matt Ruiz is graduating and the Chief of Staff is leaving the university. If faculty can assist in recommending students to the Student Government, that would be helpful.
- SGA is collecting food for a holiday food drive and have collected at least 300 food items for the university food bank. They will look forward to doing this food drive again next semester.
- SGA will resume activities in January to set agendas for the coming semester.
- Report of the University Senate/IFC representative (J. Pula)
- Most items discussed in the November University Senate meeting pertained specifically to West Lafayette. However, it should be noted that faculty, staff, and students throughout the system, except for IUPUI and Purdue Global, are restricted from betting on Purdue sporting events.
- The intellectual property discussions are ongoing within Faculty Affairs.
- Open discussion (as time permits).
- Sindone brought up a question related to our rights as faculty in accepting students into classes after the student has been revealed as being potentially violent in the classroom. These matters are complicated when the student may be receiving accommodations through the Disability Access Center (DAC). DAC has responded in such cases that if the behavior is related to a disability, then there are limitations in what can be done. Sindone asked how faculty can be expected to protect themselves in such a situation.
- Dean of Students Colin Fewer was not present. As former Dean of Students, VC L. Goodnight responded that the DAC should be reporting these issues to the Dean of Students Office and it should be referred to the Student Behavioral Intervention Team. This committee would then work through the situation and make recommendations as appropriate. Faculty are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students directly, as well as the Chief of Police, anytime they may fear for the safety of themselves or other students in their classes. There are systems in place to deal with these issues. Sindone replied that in one case, increased police presence was provided after these meetings took place during the course time, but this did not appear to be satisfactory. In the case of an unsatisfactory resolution, the case should be taken to Vice Chancellor Colwell.
- Lerner provided additional concerns about DAC accommodations and the Dean of Students’ office. In some cases, referrals may be brought to West Lafayette for further discussion on extenuating cases. VC Goodnight related that federal law and Title IX must be followed for accommodation rulings, even if to faculty these accommodations appear to be outside the normal limits of reasonable.
- Colwell and Goodnight further clarified that in such cases as related to disabilities as well as other extenuating issues, policies are intended to protect students and determine what students are and are not entitled to within the limits of state and federal law. Information may be protected and may not be available to faculty members individually, and the university cannot discriminate against students based on things such as medical issues, criminal convictions, and pregnancies. Faculty should call the Dean of Students any time there are questions or clarifications needed in terms of the process regarding any specific situation or student. The Dean of Students is also available to come to any department or college meeting to make a presentation.
- Majumdar noted that class disruption issues are different from incident reporting, and the former is noted to be handled within the department between chair and faculty member. She asked as to whether the Dean of Students should be involved in this situation as well as in incident reporting.
- Gillotti noted that there are some concerns in the Communications department related to accommodations for certain anxiety disorders. Reasonable accommodations are in question when students are restricted from giving public speeches in a public speaking course. The students, however, as noted by Goodnight and Colwell, do not have input into their own accommodations. Therefore, as these questions about reasonable accommodations continue, perhaps more discussion needs to be had between Dean of Students, DAC, and faculty. Gillotti also posed a question about retention issues and whether perceived unfairness between students with and without accommodations may impact retention.
- Elmendorf noted that DAC will be a continuing conversation on the Senate Agenda.
- Kincaid related that concerns about student violent or disruptive behavior should be directed to the University Police and that they have been responsive to such issues.
- Domke also noted that in extreme behavior issues, in the past the Dean of Students office has made accommodations to have students complete coursework within the Dean of Students office directly in the past. She applauded the efforts she experienced in the past.
- Merkovsky and Kozel spoke to an issue of accommodations in testing and the timing of taking tests. There is concern that tests are not being scheduled at the same time as other students taking the test, and there is further concern about the rationale behind such an accommodation. Colwell responded that individual diagnoses can provide for this, and offered to bring Debra Wysong, Director of DAC, to the next Senate meeting.
- Schultz asked to be able to better understand the screening of accommodations and placement in certain programs that may relate to individuals with specific disabilities and their ability to perform or complete those programs. He questioned as to whether accommodations provided are appropriate with relation to their participation in specific programs and class participation.
- Kramer commented that evening courses are further impacted in that DAC is not open after 5:00pm. Accommodations for testing are often able to be provided at those times, but not always and there may be budgetary issues to look at so that tests can be offered concurrently with the time of any class. Colwell noted that space is also a limitation in offering concurrent testing.
- Student Affairs will also look into the matter further to discuss the questions that may be directed to DAC and the Dean of Students.
- Registrar Cheryl Arroyo reminded the faculty that grades are due by 5pm on Tuesday, December 17.
Committee room assignments:
- Nominations, Elections, and Awards – Foyer Room
- Curriculum – PMF 104
- Education Policy – PMF 113
- Faculty Affairs – PMF 113
- General Education – PMF 113
- Student Affairs – PMF 113